13th Annual Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference: Kirk Shaw

As part of our continuing series of 2012 Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference faculty interviews with interviewer Carol Lynch Williams. Here is a sneak peek at the instructor for the Contemporary Novel Class: Kirk Shaw.

Carol Lynch Williams: If you had any advice for future-author hopefuls, what would it be?
Kirk Shaw:
Keep on writing. Don’t stop while your manuscript is out to agents/publishers. Don’t stop when your writers’ group hates it. Don’t stop when Goodreads “critics” eviscerate your story. Don’t stop because you’re worried you won’t make any money on your debut book or worried that you won’t get an agent. Keep writing, improving, and aiming high!

CLW: At what point did you know that you had made it in the world of writing?
KS: At university I was so drawn to books, publishing, and the idea of finding talented, brilliant authors and making their books a success. That element–finding those wonderful people whose talent I can foster and build–is still my favorite part of being an editor. Some of the highlights that have made me say, “Yes, I love this business and I am there!” are editing a Broadway-debuting play, editing the words of one of my all-time heroes (Bob Woodward), and finding and publishing Regency romance novelist Sarah Eden. But, in all honesty, I am still trying to “make it” and will continue that quest until the end, I think.

CLW: If you could work with any other author, who would it be?
KS: Carol Williams. But if she’s not available, then I think I would really enjoy working with Dan Wells. Sadly, Moshe Feder is doing a great job with Dan’s work, so he’s not going to come pitch to me anytime soon. But I think he’s one of the freshest new voices in fiction, and I look forward to seeing where his career takes him.

CLW: What genre of book do you most enjoy reading?
KS: Lately, I have really been enjoying urban paranormal detective series like Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files and Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger series. But I’m sort of a chameleon and like reading in broad strokes with various colors on my palette. Next on my list is a book on the history of the Supreme Court and one on anti-Nazism shown through literature.

Kirk Shaw will be teaching the Contemporary Novel Class at WIFYR this year. Register online today!

Shaw is senior editor for Covenant Communications. He has also done work for many freelance clients, including Boston publisher David R. Godine, Northwestern University Press, and the scientific journal Western North American Naturalist. During his career, he has produced and edited fiction (in most genres), memoirs, historical, art, theatrical, gardening, gift, technical, scientific, scholarly, creative nonfiction, and other nonfiction. He enjoys writing short stories and especially relishes reading speculative fiction, historical and suspense novels, young adult, post-apocalyptic, and dystopia novels. This summer he edited his first Broadway-debut play.

13th Annual Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference: Introduction, A. E. Cannon, Julie Olson, Matthew Kirby

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